Our undercover expert sampled coffee in each of the big three.
Our expert was not impressed with Starbucks's americano
To test the quality and taste, we sent Whittard coffee buyer and taster Giles Hilton to a Starbucks, Costa Coffee and Caffé Nero in central London.
Giles ordered two popular coffees – an americano and a cappuccino – in each shop. He rated them for appearance and temperature, taste and overall satisfaction.
According to Giles, a good americano should contain a single shot of espresso topped up with a third to a half cup of hot water. But he felt that the americanos he ordered contained too much water.
Starbucks was the worst offender. Giles thought that the cup had too much water, which resulted in a ‘faint coffee taste’. Costa’s was also a little oversized and ‘weak’. Giles liked Caffé Nero’s americano the best, although still a ‘bit watery’, it was ‘on the right track’.
The ideal cappuccino should be a third coffee, a third milk and a third froth.
Giles thought that both Costa and Caffé Nero served a good cappuccino. Starbucks’s offering was only satisfactory and, while it tasted ‘nice’, was spoilt by being ‘too long’ and having too much froth.
Giles liked Costa’s cappuccino, saying that it was ‘correctly presented and well balanced’. However, Caffé Nero’s cappuccino was his favourite. According to Giles, it was ‘the most professional of the three’.